Rich and varied, Turkish cuisine is, above all, a regional cuisine, unique thanks to the multiple influences due to its geographical position between Europe, Asia, and the East and the various migrations of the Turks
Rich and varied, Turkish cuisine is, above all, a regional cuisine, unique thanks to the multiple influences due to its geographical position between Europe, Asia, and the East and the various migrations of the Turks over the centuries. Among the most famous dishes outside Turkey, it is difficult to resist the meat kebab, pides, gozlemes, or kisir, a bulgur salad to be served chilled.
As for sweets, baklava filled with walnuts or pistachios and loukoums are emblems of Turkish pastry, to be tasted before the famous Turkish coffee and the session of reading your future in the brown of the marc. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the best Turkish dishes that everyone ought to try at least once.
Obviously, to start with, breakfast! As we already told you, breakfast (kahvaltı) is not a small thing in Turkey. It is a hearty, salty, and sweet meal that is accompanied by tea, at will, of course! In the basic breakfast, there will be tomatoes and cucumber, cheese (beyaz peynir- which looks like feta cheese, or kaşar, a pressed cheese), olives, honey with cream (bal kaymak), jam… all accompanied by bread, simit (round sesame bread).
But in addition, you will also find eggs, either hard-boiled or scrambled (menemem, scrambled eggs with bell pepper and tomatoes), or fried (which can be accompanied by sucuk- a kind of Turkish “chorizo”, without pork). And many other things that we leave you to discover!
Not a dish but a type of “restaurant” to taste the traditional cuisine. A lokanta is a kind of canteen where the dishes are prepared in advance and then kept warm in a glass case; you have to point to what you want (no more language barrier!). You will find a concentrate of Turkish cuisine at all prices and any time of the day or night. Don’t hesitate to push the door when you see locals eating there; it is sometimes not very refined, but you are rarely disappointed by this comforting home cooking.
The dürüm seems to be a simple “rolled” sandwich, or “wrap” in English, but beware, here, we do not joke with the traditions! Fresh bread, more or less thick, minced meat (adana, or urfa for a less spicy version), or skewers cooked with charcoal. To be eaten with an ayran (a drink made of yogurt and salted water), açık (fresh), or kapalı (industrial version), to calm your taste buds, if you choose the spicy version!
4. Börek & Poğaça
Börek are a very popular family of savory puff pastries, filled with cheese (beyaz peynir), meat, potatoes, or spinach. They are available in different types of cooking and in different forms, cut up or in individual portions. Another version of these savory bites is the poğaça. Based on a dough that looks more like a milk roll, they are either filled with cheese (peynirli) or plain (sade). You can often find them at börek vendors or from street vendors.
In many countries, you can find a version of minced meatballs. Here, the base is a mixture of beef and lamb, onions, and spices… but the ingredients, shape, and cooking vary (in balls, flat, cooked in a broth – sulu köfte, on a grill, or fried). We like all versions! There are also other variants; like içli köfte (minced meat in a bulgur crust), or cig köfte (formerly the Turkish version of steak tartare, it is now, for hygienic reasons, a vegetarian version made with bulgur).
6. Pide & Lahmacun
The Turkish version of pizza is divided into two big families as different as good! On the one hand, the pide, a rather rich version of the pizza, which is more like a dish, in the shape of a boat, topped with a choice of cheese, meat (sucuk- a kind of “chorizo”, kavurma- braised beef or pastirma- dried and spiced beef), egg, etc.
On the other hand, the lahmacun, a thin crispy patty filled with minced lamb meat, onion, garlic, tomato, bell pepper, chili, and parsley, is usually eaten rolled with parsley or salad leaves and lemon juice. It’s up to you to make your choice!
7. Mantı & Gözleme
During your walks in Istanbul, you will surely see old women shaping mantı (kind of mini ravioli) in some restaurants, often placed near the window to attract the tourist. Despite this, it remains a very traditional dish not to be missed! They are served with a yogurt sauce (with or without garlic) and slightly spicy oil.
Don’t forget to add dried mint and more or less pul biber (chili flakes) according to your taste. As for the gözleme, it is a kind of thick salted pancake made with the same dough and filled with spinach/cheese (feta type), minced meat, and potatoes.
Craving Turkish cuisine?
For all your kebabs cravings, especially if you live in Fraiser side, Australia, you have to visit Viva Kebabs and Grill, which delivers authentic and fresh Turkish cuisine with recipes passed down from generation. Visit them now or find them on Doordash and UberEats and try authentic kebabs ad other Turkish food. So, what are you waiting for? Give them a visit and make your tummy happy with a nice kebab.